Your Supplement for Sales Vitality by Kelly Slater

Why did YOU get into media sales?  Looked like a lot of FUN?  Seemed like an EASY gig?  Did you think you could make a TON of MONEY?

You’ve got two out of three!  Working in media sales IS a lot of FUN.  You get to work in “show business” be it radio sales, broadcast television or cable television.  You CAN make a LOT OF MONEY, IF you WORK HARD.

This is not an easy gig.  There is a great deal of competition for your clients’ money, not only from other media outlets, but from other sources, such as their payroll, insurances, and other business expenses.

As media sales people we have to WORK HARD to show the business owner the VALUE of advertising.  We have to WORK HARD to earn their trust – to earn their business.

So if you guessed “all of the above” to my initial question, enjoy your time in media sales while it lasts.  Because if you aren’t working hard, you won’t be working in media sales long.

Now, go sell something!

Patience and Persistence

A must-see movie for anyone in sales is Door to Door, starring William H. Macy as a man with cerebral palsy determined to become a salesman. This is one of the most inspirational movies of all time, and is based on the true story of Bill Porter, whose goal is to be a great salesman like his late father. Helen Mirren plays his mother and offers him words of encouragement and tough love as he walks his route everyday. I won’t get into it anymore, so as not to spoil it for you, but put this in your Netflix queue for sure.

(Watch the trailer here)

A major theme early in the movie was Porter’s lesson about Patience and Persistence. Notwithstanding his physical challenges, he dealt with the typical sales objections and worked through them with thoughtful and creative solutions. By being persistent, he developed relationships with customers who in the beginning wouldn’t give him the time of day. It was Porter’s patience that gave him the will to be persistent.

Patience and Persistence. These words will get you through every call, every day. Patience and Persistence will allow you to develop relationships with clients that are iron clad and built on trust. Patience and Persistence: Words to live by.

I dedicated a sales meeting to a screening of this flick, and, suffice to say, there was not one person who was not moved by this story. Check it out and see if you don’t approach your next day at work with an entirely new perspective.

Now, go sell something!

It doesn’t matter what you think the VALUE of your product is – what does your client think?  Your client has to see the VALUE in what you have to sell, by experiencing results themselves or seeing the results of others.  Share success stories with your clients and prospects, be it your own local success, the successes of your colleagues and their clients or successes in the industry.  Share success stories to increase the perceived Value of what you sell.

 

Now, go sell something!

FREQUENCY

FREQUENCY.  I learned a phrase early in my media career that has made THE
difference between success and failure among the clients that I work with.

REPETITION BUILDS REPUTATION.  I heard media sales guru, Dave Gifford, use this phrase and it became the basis for every proposal I have put together ever since.

REPETITION BUILDS REPUTATION.  When you are constructing a media schedule — be it radio, television (broadcast OR cable), internet, even print — it is REPETITION that plays an important part in the success of your schedule.

REETITION BUILDS REPUTATION.  How did YOU learn your ABC’s?  Your Times Table?  You said them over and over and over again.

A successful media schedule (and by “successful” I mean a schedule that has been created with a specific goal in mind and a specific deadline to reach that goal) depends on two things.  One is the message (we’ll get to that in another post) and the other is the schedule.  A schedule that has frequency WILL make the difference.

So what is a good frequency?  There are many ways to achieve FREQUENCY.  When you are limited by budget, use a VERTICAL SCHEDULE.  Choose one day a week and schedule your messages so that the client OWNS THAT DAY.  For
instance, if your client can only afford, say, ten commercials per week, rather than scheduling two commercials per day over five days, create more FREQUENCY by scheduling all ten commercials between 6am-7pm on ONE day.  Put that schedule in place for at least thirteen weeks with a strong message, and it will deliver better results.

When you are lucky enough to have a robust budget, then go for it!  Schedule five to seven message every day – 365 days a year.  Set goals with your client quarterly.  This kind of schedule will require some work on your part.  You will need to keep the message fresh.  You will need to keep the messages on track to meet the goals that you set. You will need to check in
with the client to keep on track.  Just the other day while working with a prospective client, they told me that they hadn’t seen their radio rep in months!  I know that this client has been on that radio station for a number of years (over 10) and has invested a great deal of money over the years.  But the market has changed and their competition has become more aggressive and it’s time for this business to take a close look at their advertising investments.

On a side note, if you have “Annual Clients” on the air, ask yourself when was the last time you spoke with them?  When was the last time you changed their copy?

No matter where your medium stands in the ratings, number 1 or number 7, FREQUENCY is the key to building your clients’ reputations.

Now, go sell something!

Ten a Day

Today it is WAY too easy to get stuck at your desk in front of the computer.  One may think that it makes the job of selling much easier:  Just shoot a quick e-mail to a client to “check in,” or leave a voicemail telling a client about special pricing that you are offering right now… At this rate you can call on 50 clients by noon!

But are you really making calls?  When I first started selling media back in the early 90’s the rule of thumb was:  Make 10 calls a day.  FACE to FACE calls.  Walk into a business and speak to a decision maker.

Ten per day.

We as sellers have to get back to seeing ten people per day.  Start your day with 30 to 45 minutes of email contact.  Then hit the road!  Get out and SEE your clients. Let them SEE YOU. Propsect by walking in and introducing yourself.  Look around you and take note of new businesses, new construction, changes in storefronts.  All of these things are indications of opportunities, and you won’t see any of them while sitting in your chair in front of your computer.

Many people have Blackberries or other such devices that allow them to stay plugged in to their e-mail while out of the office.  If you do not, check back at midday and again, allow yourself only 30 to 45 minutes online.   Then GET BACK OUT THERE!   Once you have SEEN ten people, head back to the office and take care of paperwork, administrative tasks, submit your orders, return calls and emails.

If you can get into a routine like this, your sales will increase.  I guarantee it.  You just have to make the calls.  FACE TO FACE CALLS.

Please share your comments and experiences.

Now, go sell something!

For MEDIA SALES

I met with a client yesterday who told me that one of my competitors was in last week, and spent the entire meeting talking about the shortcomings of all of his competitors.

I work in media sales in a small market, and compete against approximately fifty other media sales people throughout television, radio, print, yellow pages and cable. Fifty! In such a highly competitive arena, if you are lucky enough to get an appointment to meet with a client, you better be smart enough to know how to conduct that meeting. Spending that time telling the client what they are doing or thinking is wrong will not get you very far.

I know that we all report back to sales managers who are under the gun to meet numbers. They report to general managers who report up the line as well. But if we as sellers start getting aggressive and negative in our sales calls the clients will be turned off. After all, they have many choices (49 others here).

Instead of using the old school tactics, try this: Ask your client what he or she is trying to accomplish. Remember, some of these folks have worked with the “old dogs” for a long time so they will use catch phrases of days gone by. In media, such phrases might include “reach” and “ total household penetration”, “Where are you in the ratings?” Blah blah blah.

BE DIFFERENT. Drill down and ask what YOU can do to help? Get a specific assignment and create a plan that will reach that goal. BE DIFFERENT. Check in often and get updates on the status of the campaign, ask how it is working. BE DIFFERENT. Offer measurable results. BE DIFFERENT.

Would love to hear how YOU are DIFFERENT, please share.

Now, go sell something!

That’s when the SELLING begins.  Otherwise you are just taking orders.  When a client says “no” to your proposal, you have a jumping off point.

Ask them why… Was the copier that you were trying to sell too big?  Were there not enough lines in the cell phone plan?  If you are selling advertising, did you present a rock station, but the buyer is a Johnny Cash fan?

“No” starts the conversation.  You can ask questions that will help you get closer to a “Yes”.  Find out what the objections are.  Write them down; repeat them back to the client.  Be sure that you know exactly why they said no.  Then prepare a presentation that addresses the objections, either with new solutions or with research that justifies the original proposal.

For instance, I have a client to whom I proposed an advertising schedule.  He was not happy with the networks that I presented, or the time frame in which the commercials would air.  I didn’t understand why.  So I asked questions.  He explained that he was not trying to reach a “do it yourself” demographic.  He felt that his clientele was more affluent, and perhaps a bit older than the network I had targeted.

I understood his reasoning. Then I prepared research to present to him on specific programs on this network that targeted his desired clientele.  I tweaked the schedule so that his commercials aired only in these targeted programs, and when I presented the revised proposal – one that addressed his initial objections — he signed the contract.  His “no” became a “yes.”

When it came time to renegotiate for 2010, the buy grew by 150% for the year.

If you are a REAL salesperson and not just an order-taker, the word “no” means “GO” to you.  This is a green light to proceed.  This is when you get energized and the adrenaline starts pumping.  This is when the SELLING begins!

Now, go sell something!